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Why get solar panels?

  • Generate free, green electricity
  • Reduce your electricity bill by up to 64%
  • Get paid for what you don't use

Solar panels in Bristol: Are they worth it?

  • A solar panel system in Bristol can produce enough electricity to cover most of a home’s annual consumption
  • The amount of electricity these solar panels would generate depends on the amount of sunlight there is 
  • The Bright Green Homes Project offers funding for solar panels, but is expected to end in March 2025
  • You can receive a loan of up to £20,000 with a flat rate of 4%
  • Bristol has an average of 1,660 hours of sunshine per year

Solar panels are a significant investment, so you need to know you will get your money’s worth. 

One factor which may affect this is where you live and how much sun you get you get a year. 

Bristol gets sun than most other parts of the UK. The city receives 1,253 kilowatt-hours of sunlight per square metre every year – about 15% above the national average. 

Therefore, if you live in Bristol, buying a solar panel could be a really smart thing to do for your wallet and carbon footprint. But before you do, you need to consider the costs and break-even time.

We’ve got all Bristol residents covered in this guide by analysing every step of the process of buying and installing solar panels. 

If you’ve already done your research and you’re ready to reach out to installers, fill in our simple form and our installers will be in touch. 

How much power can a solar panel system generate in Bristol?

A solar panel system in Bristol can produce enough electricity to cover most of a home’s annual consumption, according to Sunsave

The average three bedroom home in Bristol and South West England uses an average of 2,700 kilowatt-hours (kWh), meaning a 10-panel and 3.5 kWp system is required. This would generate around 3,023.33 kWh per year. You are able to send this back to the national grid using the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), but we’ll go into more detail below. 

The solar power you would use is around 50% of your energy consumption, saving an average of £370.36 per year, based on Ofgem’s latest electricity rate of 24.5p/kWh. 

The amount of electricity these solar panels would generate would depend on the amount of sunlight you receive each year. While solar panels do generate electricity when it’s cloudy, you can create more when it’s sunny. 

Are solar panels worth it in Bristol?

Yes, as you can see, solar panels are absolutely worth the investment if you live in Bristol, as long as you can afford them. 

The potential energy and cost savings, and the fact Bristol receives more sun than the most of the UK on average, makes solar panels a smart investment.

You’ll generate your own renewable energy, reduce your energy bills and reduce your carbon emissions, but just be sure you’re aware of the upfront cost and how long it will take to make money back before you get started. 

An overview of a residential area in Bristol

How much does a solar panel system cost in Bristol?

If you have a  three bedroom home, it will cost about £6,836 to install 10 solar panels.  For a one-to-two bedroom home, it will cost about £4,102 for six solar panels. 

If you have more than four bedrooms, the cost for a 14 panel and a 4.9kWh system is approximately £9,571. 

The break-even point for solar panel owners in Bristol and South West England is 12.4 years – which is an impressive two year difference on the UK average of 14.6 years. This is largely because, as we’ve said, Bristol gets more sunlight than most cities, receiving an average of 1,660 hours of sunshine per year

Solar panels last  on average  around 25-30 years, so the average three bedroom household can expect to generate a profit of £6,957.53 after this time. Bristol residents can save more by installing a solar battery, but you likely need two through your solar panels lifetime. 

Check out our guide on solar panel costs to determine if the investment in a solar panel battery is worth it.

How can I get additional savings with my solar panels?

Solar panels let you make money by sending your excess energy to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). How much you make will depend on which energy supplier you partner with. 

Energy suppliers who are registered as an SEG Licensee determine the rate, contract length and other terms, which SEG homeowners receive. The tariff rates must always be above zero and payments are calculated using export metre readings. 

Currently, you can expect to see rates of up to 29.3 per kWh if you joined Intelligent Octopus Flux compared to Octopus Energy’s 4.1p per kWh flat rate.  

Are there any grants in Bristol for solar panels?

Yes, both private tenants and homeowners have options to improve the energy efficiency of their homes through solar panels.

There is the energy loan for homeowners and private landlords, offering up to £20,000 and a fixed interest rate of 4%. 

There is also the Bright Green Homes project which will fund and support eligible households to install a range of insulation and low-carbon technologies. 

A famous Bristol landmark

What is the Bristol energy efficiency improvement loan?

As previously stated, this loan is specifically for homeowners and private landlords. 

To get this type of energy loan, you must: 

  • Have enough equity in your property to cover the agreed loan
  • Agree to pay back the outstanding balance if you move home

The maximum loan available is £20,000, with a fixed interest rate of 4%. This rate is set by Bristol City Council meaning everyone in Bristol will pay the same interest rate, regardless of loan amount, loan term or personal circumstances. Works under £7,500 require one estimate and works above £7,500 require two estimates. 

Works to improve the energy efficiency of your home should typically compliment offers made the Energy Service, such as: 

  • Loft and cavity wall insulation
  • Boiler replacements
  • Underfloor insulation
  • First time central heating 

How can I claim/apply? 

The loan is run through Lendology who have been working with Bristol City Council since 2005 to assist homeowners in financing repairs, energy efficiency improvements and incorporating eco-friendly technologies, like solar panels, battery storage and heat pumps. 

You can apply through Lendology’s website and your credit score won’t be affected. An answer will be given to you within two working days. 

The application form will ask you which loan scheme you are applying for (Energy Efficiency Loan in this case), if you’re a homeowner, your council district, what works you need carrying out, how much you need to borrow and repayments. 

What is the Bright Green Homes project?

The Bright Green Homes project aims to support the delivery of low carbon, energy efficiency and cost-saving measures for homes across the South West, including solar panels. 

The grant is run by Bristol City Leap, who works with Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and Bath and Northeast Somerset Council to run the project. 

While the grant will fund and support eligible households to install solar panels, it also covers the following methods of insulation and low-carbon technologies, including:

  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Loft insulation 
  • Underfloor insulation
  • Air source heat pump 

To be eligible for the funding, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • Currently on electric, oil, LPG or solid fuel funding (homes with gas central heating are not eligible)
  • Energy Performance Certificate of G, F, E or D
  • Live in Bristol City
  • Annual household income of £36,000 or low

The exemption to the annual household income is if your home is in one of the three-lowest postcodes on the Indices of Multiple Deprivation list. You can check whether your postcode is here

The project is due to end in March 2025 and funding is limited, so register as soon as possible to take advantage. 

How can I claim/apply? 

Registration for the Bright Green Homes project follows an eight-step process. 

The first step is undertaking eligibility checks to confirm you meet the criteria, where you will be asked to provide evidence to support your application, such as your EPC rating. 

Once your eligibility has been confirmed, a retrofit assessment will be scheduled, which can take up to two hours. The survey identifies all elements of your building fabric, looks at occupancy and highlights any repairs needed for your solar panels and other measures can be installed. 

Step three is technical surveys. These will determine if it’s possible to install the recommended measures. Once these have been completed, both the retrofit assessment and technical survey will be sent to a retrofit designer who will build a plan. 

You will then apply for funding for the cost of these works. Once approved, you will be sent a letter outlining the costs and repairs for you to sign. Installation can proceed. 

The final step is you will be provided with maintenance information and you can provide feedback on the installation and raise any concerns. You will have full power to sign off the installation and you will be given all documentation, including warranties, operation manuals and completion certificate. 

How many homes have solar panels in Bristol?  

More than 7,000 homes (7,545) in Bristol have installed solar panels, according to the latest data by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), as of February 2024. 

While this figure means 3.94% of households in Bristol have bought a solar panel system, they are on the lower end of other areas in the South West and the UK. 

With grants and loans available, it’s worth calculating if you are able to afford solar panel installations. Then, fill in this simple-to-use form and our installers will be in touch with a free, no obligation quote. 


  • The average 10-panel 3.5kWh system will cost £6,836, which will be needed for the average three-bedroom home. A one-to-two bedroom home will need a six panel, 2.1kWh system, which will cost £4,102 and four bedroom homes will need 14 panels at a cost of £9,571. 
  • More than 7,000 homes (7,545) in Bristol have installed solar panels
  • The average three bedroom home in Bristol and South West England uses an average of 2,700 kilowatt-hours (kWh)
  • Bristol receives more sunlight than most cities, receiving an average of 1,660 hours of sunshine per year
  • 3.94% of households in Bristol have bought a solar panel system
Written by:
Tamara Birch, senior writer, The Eco Experts
Tamara has written about environmental topics for more than four years. This includes advising small business owners on cost-effective ways, like solar panels and energy-efficient products to help them become more sustainable. 
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